On Saturday, February 8th, the St. Joseph Workers went to the Southern California Partners for Global Justice’s symposium on Human trafficking and healing through the arts. It was important for us to go because justice is one of our four pillars and learn more about human trafficking. A couple weeks before the symposium, I had mentioned to Sister Judy that I wanted to go to more justice events. This particular event had fulfilled that want. It was great to see a symposium done in a different light through the arts.
The opening prayer ritual was a beautiful opening to the day. While the presenter was reading the prayer, there quiet background music and mime, dancing on stage. The presentation brought it all to reality, especially using the arts. There was a play, written by someone who was trafficked. A poster contest of what people thought of the issue. The whole day was about bringing it to reality and to our attention. One of the things that stuck out to me is when someone said “change begins with awareness.” Going to the symposium made me more aware of the issue of human trafficking around the world and in the United States. If you do not know it is happening, then you cannot help. Once you learn about what human trafficking is, you have an obligation to help stop the issue and spread awareness of the issue. Like the presenter said on Saturday, change begins with awareness. Being aware of human trafficking, changes things. It changes your knowledge on the issue, it makes you pay attention to situations that look suspicious, and makes you an advocate for those who are trafficked.
Here are some facts for you to be more aware of human trafficking:
- 99% of victims of human trafficking are never rescued (projecthopeLA.org)
- In the US the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 (projecthopeLA.org)
- There are 12.3 million slaves worldwide (US state dept)
- 50% of those trafficked are minors (US DOL 2010)
You might be thinking, “This is a big issue, i can’t do anything to change it” False, you can change it. By reading this, you are already changing the issue because you are aware of the issue. What else can you do change the issue? You can keep your eyes open and call 1 (888) 373 7888 if you suspect a victim of human trafficking.
You can also look for these signs of a child being trafficked:
- Seems afraid to talk, socialize, or tell where they are from
- seems traumatized and fearful
- unable to go out or move about freely or alone
- never seems to leave the home or workplace
- physical injuries
The biggest thing you can do is to tell someone about human trafficking. As disgusting and repulsive as human trafficking is and hard talk about. We can’t stop the issue if no one talk about it. So tell your friends. Make them aware of what Human Trafficking is and how awful it is. Be an advocate who can’t stand up for themselves. Be a voice to those who suffer through trafficking. Be aware and pass on your knowledge of awareness. Pray. Prayer changes things, too. Pray about the issue and for an end to it.
After the presentations at the symposium, I am more aware about human trafficking and will be using my knowledge of the issue to pass on to others. Human trafficking needs to end and we can a part of the end of human trafficking.
Remember change begins beings with awareness. Be aware. Be a voice.